How to Hang Pictures on Plaster Walls

Estimated Reading Time:

Start your project today!

Find Local Help

Hanging a picture on a plaster wall

A picture is worth a thousand words. And the pictures you choose to hang in your home reflect the kind of home you want to have.

If you own an older home, you might have plaster walls. This means your picture-hanging technique will be a little different from what works on drywall. We’ll provide you with tips for hanging your favorite art and explain what makes plaster different from drywall in the following sections:

Drywall Versus Plaster Walls

If you own a newer home, chances are that your interior walls are made of modern drywall. However, older homes, particularly those built before the 1940s, may have plaster walls instead. Spanish style homes also tend to have plaster walls, even modern ones. Luckily, having plaster walls isn’t a bad thing at all. It just means you need to approach certain tasks, like hanging a picture, differently from how you would if it were drywall.

Here are some facts about drywall and plaster:

  • Plaster walls tend to crack and crumble when hammered.
  • Plaster walls are a much older style of wall construction. They’ve been used since ancient times!
  • Drywall is more common now and typically less expensive.
  • Drywall installation is typically less labor intensive.

Hanging Pictures on Plaster Walls

What is the best way to hang pictures on a plaster wall? Follow these general guidelines to do it right:

  • For pictures weighing less than five pounds, use an adhesive hook or Velcro strip. This method makes for easy removal.
  • For pictures weighing five to 10 pounds, drive your nail or hook at a downward angle into the wall.
  • For pictures weighing more than 10 pounds, sink your screw anchor into the wall. You can also use plaster hooks for pictures up to 25 pounds. For even heavier pieces, it’s a good idea to use molly bolts or toggle bolts. You may also need support from a stud. You can use a stud finder to eliminate the guesswork of finding wall studs.
  • When you need to make a hole in the wall, consider predrilling the hole first. This ensures easier insertion and reduces the chance that you’ll run into something you cannot drive a nail into.
  • Before drilling a hole in the wall, cover the hole with a piece of painter’s tape to prevent cracks from developing or plaster dust from spilling onto your floor.

Refresh Your Room

Has your successful picture hanging inspired you to do more? Try one of these impactful updates.

  • Give your plaster walls a fresh coat of paint before hanging your pictures. Or, try an accent wall!
  • Replace an old brass fixture, like that wobbly, old ceiling fan, with a new, more modern one. It can change the entire feel of the room!
  • Install insulated glass units (IGUs) to maintain consistent and desirable room temperature.
  • Build custom cabinetry for books, photo frames, and other décor.
  • Refresh your room by giving it a deep clean.

Need a hand? Neighborly’s team of home service experts would love to lend one. Explore our entire family of brands and schedule service on our homepage.